YOUR letters to the Advertiser this week include views on the row over LGBT rights and allegations of discrimination, parking in Helensburgh, the town's latest beach clean and much more.

To have your say on any local issue, or any story you've read in the Advertiser, just email your views to or get in touch via the Send Us Your News section of this website.

Please remember to include your name and address, and try to keep your views as brief and to-the-point as you can.

We also require a daytime contact phone number in case we need to check any details at short notice, though this will not be published.

Happy writing!

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As a citizen and a Christian I would like to comment on the issue regarding LGBT rights and Scripture Union Scotland, as covered in the Advertiser of May 30 and by Ruth Wishart in her opinion column.

Firstly, I am not homophobic. I have worked with people who are gay, and people who have had sex changes, and I treat them as any other person. God gave everyone 'free will' to choose what they want and He will not over-ride that, so why should we try to?

The issue being discussed here is not so much what we believe, as our right to believe and behave the way we want to.

LGBT people have chosen a lifestyle that they are happy with, and they have the right to do that, and considerable Government backing.

Christians have also chosen a lifestyle and belief they are happy with. The problem comes when one group tries to make the other give up their beliefs to suit their own ideas and agenda.

This is not new within the universal church. When people started to disagree with the teaching of the Catholic Church, they formed another religion – namely the Lutheran Church and the Anglican Church.

When people didn’t agree with those, other denominations were formed – Methodist, Baptist, Presbyterian etc.

My question to the LGBT movement is this: Why try and change what the majority are happy with? Why don’t you form your own church?

Go all out and form your own groups to correspond with Scripture Union, or any other group that doesn’t allow you membership.

Frankly, even Jesus didn’t try and change the way the Jews worshipped God from inside the synagogue. He formed a new religion – Christianity!

To be honest I don’t believe people will ever be treated equally. Women are not treated equally to men even after years of trying, black people are still not treated equally to white people, those disabled, blind, or with mental issues also battle.

The issue is whether you are confident with your own self-image, and style of life. If you are happy with who you are, and you have faith that God loves you that way, then why do you need to spend time forcing others to change their beliefs?

Jessica Scott-Smythe

Via email

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Since you published my letter about our money grabbing council (Helensburgh Advertiser, March 28), I have been keeping an eye open for more examples of Argyll and Bute Council's parking dysfunction.

First, in the very place I was fined for parking, the council recently put up a sign saying that parking there was temporarily suspended.

I had to smile. Whereas I was fairly sure I had parked in a place not permitted by the cunningly difficult to see zone parking signs (so, yes, I was guilty), here was the council telling me something else.

Of course there are many possibilities apart from the dysfunction noted in the council's last report on its own performance. The most likely explanation will be the contractor didn't understand the rules either so, to play it safe, put up more signs than necessary to stop cars parking where he was working.

Such an explanation tells me the council are not supervising their contractors and, probably, paying over the odds for their services.

Alternatively, one part of the council told the contractor where to put the signs but didn't check with the parking department - another council-generated waste of money.

The second observation I report here is what appeared to be the issue of a parking ticket to a car parked in a disabled bay but displaying a blue badge with an expired date.

In mid-May I noticed just such a blue badge; the pass expired at the end of April. So, another parking offence, the holier-than-thous would say, and they'd be right in a black and white interpretation of the rules.

Maybe the notice in the plastic envelope I saw attached to that very vehicle wasn't a fine, just a polite reminder that the blue badge had expired – that would be a trained parking attendant doing his job with compassion and understanding. You never know.

I hope it was the latter explanation but, as I reported in March, the council wouldn't be able to tell you because they don't collect all the data required for them to monitor their own performance. They just take the money.

John Humphreys

Via email

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Once again Helensburgh Community Council is indebted to our increasing band of volunteers who took part in the latest Helensburgh beach clean on Saturday.

It was great to see mums and children taking part on such an occasion and making the West Esplanade neat and tidy for community enjoyment.

A special word of thanks goes to Davy Howie of Drumfork farm, who provided a tractor and harrow to loosen up the debris, and also to Argyll and Bute Council staff at the Blackhill depot for removing it at the end of proceedings.

Norman Muir

Convener, Helensburgh Community Council

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In the past week one of the top shows on TV has been Britain's Got Talent, watched by thousands every night.

A very much used word by the panel during this run is 'variety', and the winner, Colin Thackery, got a place in the Royal Variety Performance as part of his prize.

It would be interesting to know just how many of these dedicated viewers that this is not a new type of show but one that has been in existence for many years.

Some of the Advertiser's older readers may remember that Glasgow had many variety theatres with different shows every week.

The most famous of these theatres was the Glasgow Empire Theatre in Sauchiehall Street which closed in 1963.

During the 50s and into the 60s this theatre a top class variety show every week, with top stars from America, Britain and the rest of the world headlining the programme.

Stars like Laurel and Hardy filled this huge theatre every night with a most enthusiastic audience – who, at one point, carried the famous pair shoulder-high to their hotel at Glasgow Central station.

Also on the bill was Paul Arland and his Magic Fish, impressionist Alan Rowe, Tony the Wonder Horse, comedian Harry Worth, dancers Jill, Jill and Jill, and Betty Kaye and her Pekinese Pets.

A true variety programme.

Other supporting acts could be magicians, knife throwers, acrobats, cyclists, eccentric dancer, ventriloquists, hypnotists, roller skaters etc.

Many other great stars appeared at this theatre over the years, such as Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis, Roy Rogers and Trigger, Shirley Bassey, Judy Garland, Frank Sinatra, Slim Whitman, Tommy Steel, Liberace – the list goes on and on, and every one of these great stars had a full variety show with them as the headliner.

I myself have a great interest in variety theatre; especially the Glasgow Empire, and I have my own website telling the Empire's story at

I would be only too pleased to hear from any readers of the Advertiser with stories about the variety acts they saw at the Empire and elsewhere.

Bob Bain

Langmuirhead Road, Auchinloch

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This week is Dogs Trust’s annual Be Dog Smart Week. It’s the third year that the UK’s largest dog welfare charity has run the initiative and as one of the charity’s 27 education and community officers, I’ll be visiting schools across the west of Scotland to ensure they understand how to behave around dogs, particularly in the home.

My job involves providing local schools in and around the area with workshops to share fundamental dog safety advice, in a fun, friendly and engaging way. Since the last Be Dog Smart Week I have held workshops in more than 118 primary schools, reaching around 16,598 pupils.

Whilst being around dogs can have so many wonderful benefits for young people, the simple fact is that any dog can bite or snap if they are worried or hurt.

Be Dog Smart Week allows us to reach even more children with our safety messaging.

Dogs bring so much joy into people’s lives but unfortunately, we can’t teach dogs to understand when and why a child might act in a certain way towards them. However, we can teach children how to care for their dogs and how to behave responsibly around them.

At Dogs Trust, we believe educating children, parents, carers, teachers and dog owners about dog safety is the first step to preventing bite-related incidents.

Dogs Trust’s Be Dog Smart Week is an important initiative that will help us continue to spread fundamental dog safety advice to hundreds of children and parents across the UK.

We run our workshops all year round, so if you’re a local parent, guardian or teacher please do get in touch for further information or to book a workshop. There are heaps of useful resources available at

Gemma Kelly

Dogs Trust Education and Community Officer

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Living Streets’ Walk to School Week is over for another year and we’d like to thank everyone in Scotland who contributed to making it a massive success. Thousands of pupils from over 300 schools in Scotland joined in with pupils across the UK to enjoy the many benefits of walking to school.

Motor vehicles are the biggest source of air pollution and one in four cars on the road at peak times are on the school run. More children walking to school means fewer vehicles on the road and improved air quality for everyone.

Families in Scotland can know that they’ve helped be part of the solution this Walk to School Week by swapping four wheels for two feet.

Walking to school not only improves our air quality but is a great way for children to build more exercise into their daily lives, helping them to arrive to school healthier, happier and ready to learn.

Once again, a huge thank you and congratulations to everyone who took part in this year’s Walk to School Week. We hope you’ve been inspired to walk to school all year-round.

Stuart Hay

Director, Living Streets Scotland